the water themed Wakestock lives up to it's name on opening day

Wakestock 2012 review

published: Mon 9th Jul 2012

around the festival site

Friday 6th to Sunday 8th July 2012
Pwllheli Inner Marina and Abersoch Beach, Abersoch, Pwllheli, Gwynedd, North Wales, Wales MAP
£125 with camping, £100 without camping
daily capacity: 45000
last updated: Wed 4th Jul 2012

After taking a long hard look at the weather forecast I decided to get on my way and set up camp whilst the sun was shining, so I made the two and half hour journey, along some of the most picturesque roads Wales has to offer. I arrived at the festival site at about 6 pm, and it was already obvious that many others had made the same decision, after a brief walk around I found a nice little ridge to camp on. Which would turn out to be one of the best decisions of the weekend.

After setting up camp, and having a quick bite to eat, I went into the arena for the opening night party. With Jaguar Skills topping the bill tonight the tent was soon filling up with teenagers seemingly all smashed and with something to prove to their mates, with quite an angsty vibe in the arena. I decided to take to the tent after what had been a long day, me and my tent neighbours sat having a nice chat with a drink as the sun went down on the red sky of the Llyn Peninsula.

Friday morning started with a very literal bang, the sky had exploded right over head, it had apparently been raining most of the night but it was the thunder and tropical storm like rain that woke me, I peeked out of the tent and it didn’t look that bad so went back to sleep. I was later woken by phone calls to ask if the festival had been cancelled?! So I thought I best drag my self out the tent into the still heavy rain and find out.

around the festival site
I went for a walk around site, as a rounded the corner to the neighbouring campsite I was met with the site of a 2-3 foot deep lake about 50 metres wide, where a few hundred tents had stood only a few hours earlier, I think most people had moved quick enough to avoid the worst of the deluge, but there were tents left still standing in the middle of the lake, with people on inflatable boats rowing around the lake still drunk from the night before.

As the rain was still hammering down and the acts didn't start until 5.30 I retreated back to the safety and dry warmth of the tent, two hours later with the rain still coming thick and fast the sound systems fired up for a sound check, and it was obvious that the sound crew had a sense of humour as they sound checked to 'Walking On Sunshine'! I soon got to find out that apparently Facebook had facilitated the rumour that the festival had been cancelled, which had apparently even been confirmed on the itv Wales national news! A few people were leaving due to the weather, but the main flow of the traffic was into the site, for those that could get through the flash floods.

The arena opened up about half past four and the already smashed crowd poured in, with no drinks allowed to be carried into the arena, everyone was on a mission to get hammered before going into the arena, this brought quite a standoffish atmosphere to the festival with lots of fights breaking out inside the main tented stages between what seemed like large groups of mates who were trying to out mosh each other at every opportunity. It didn't make for a nice atmosphere the whole weekend, and this lead me to mainly stay outside of the South Stage, which also handily had most of the acts I wanted to see.

Jigsaw
I watched about two hours of the wakeboarding feast available in the rail gap pool before heading to the South Stage. There I find there isn't a much better feeling than raving in the rain and sets by Jigsaw, and Plastic Thumbs back to back certainly provided the pick up needed to keep you going through the rain, I decided to have a look around the other stages, and see what was on show, I caught a quick glimpse in the west stage of the guitarist-mc-songwriter Random Impulse. I'm sure the crowd inside the tent were enjoying it but it didn't make me want to wait around, in the East stage Koan Sound were on stage, the Bristol based dubstep producing duo, who have been signed to Skrillex's OWSLA record label, went down a storm I can see them getting much bigger.

I returned to the Larger West stage where, Wales own Radio 1 DJ Huw Stevens had taken to the stage, capturing the vibe with a very crowd pleasing set of main stream tunes with the odd Wakestock artists thrown in for good measure. The main tents were starting to fill up now, it seemed like the main stages are only anywhere near full for the last couple of acts. Begging me to ask the question "does the line-up need a few bigger hitters down the line-up?", as I hear lots of people talking about last year's line-up being superior, and I must say I do agree.

I headed back to the East stage to watch Hadouken! who were having technical problems twice they started there entrance music and marched on stage, only for their Macbook to fail, twice they threw a strop, and promised to sort out the "humongous clusterfuck of a problem as quick as possible and rip Wakestock a new asshole!" Eventually they forgot about the computer and actually picked up their instruments and played, 20 minutes later than billed. But they had already lost the crowd.

Friction
Back to the South stage again I headed to get a stomp on to Friction who was a real highlight of the weekend, a moment which wasn't shared by many as the crowd were mostly screaming at Rizzle Kicks. "Carry on" I thought, it made for a better experience, as there was no aggro and no attitud. In fact his choice of beats were so sublime I didn't manage to leave this stage again, as rounding the night off was a set by the mighty High Contrast who pummelled the crowd with a mighty set full of dirty beats, after his hour finished I wondered into back of the packed west stage to catch the last 5 minutes of Calvin Harris. It was okay but the sound system sounded distinctly average, unless you were in the front half of the tent, it just wasn't loud enough, though his lazer display and big screen visuals were a sight to behold.

around the festival site
review by: Jamie Licence

photos by: Jamie Licence

Friday 6th to Sunday 8th July 2012
Pwllheli Inner Marina and Abersoch Beach, Abersoch, Pwllheli, Gwynedd, North Wales, Wales MAP
£125 with camping, £100 without camping
daily capacity: 45000
last updated: Wed 4th Jul 2012


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